Should You Knock Down And Rebuild A House Or Remodel it?

By on May 3, 2017

It has become a protocol that the next step after acquiring a house is whether to remodel it? Or rebuild it if possible?

That’s the million-dollar question isn’t it.

People renovate their homes or build extensions to create more luxury and space. And not only does these changes have a huge effect on design and personal preferences, the element of property value is also a key consideration when making these decisions.

The assumption is you want to maximize the potential value.

For many people remodeling is the obvious choice as they do not have an option for rebuilding. For others, knocking down a house and building a new one is just too expensive. But that is very often just a perception and not reality.

Rebuilding requires more involvement and professionals. While remodeling will only need you to hire a contractor. This is probably why there is a perception of higher costs associated with rebuilding.

This is not always the case.

If you are remodeling the whole house, demolishing it and rebuilding from the ground up is usually more cost efficient. This is because it take more time and effort to plan out works with existing structure. It’s also more difficult to meticulously touch up structures than to build a new one.

Developers on the other hand would have experience in previous building projects. They have many design plans and construction plans all ready. If you like one of their existing plans, they could easily run the “template” and get your house ready faster than you can imagine. It cuts off a whole chunk of extra time needed for planning.

Don’t forget that they also hold enormous purchasing power with suppliers and other vendors.

In a weird way, it is like how it is with computers.

It would often cost you more to upgrade your hardware and software than to buy a new one with all your requirements pre-installed. Even when it is actually cheaper, it is more worthwhile to spend that little extra to get all the extra premiums that come with a new computer.

If we just assume that rebuilding is more cost efficient or cheaper than a full remodeling job, then the reasons why homeowners still choose to only remodel is a non-financial ones.

Here are the issues you could run into for knock downs and rebuilding

Working with the authorities

Of all the time-hogging events that make you pull your hair out, working with government agencies can be the most frustrating.

Depending on how big or complex your project is, you might need special permission or extra permits to commence your job with approval.

For example, you could be trying to buy up the narrow pathway behind the house that serves no public purpose. Acquiring it could allow you to build bigger. But it could take a long process of liaising to finally obtain the final approval in writing.

More involvement

These days, architectural firms have their own list of builders and sub-contractors to call upon for their contracts. But hiring an architectural firm to oversee everything could be costly.

As the everyday homeowner, you are more likely to end up hiring a builder.

This means you could end up with other parties who are independent of each other. This can require a huge effort on your part to make everything click. Because when everyone does not work under a committed supervisor, there is less synergy.

You can then expect to see defects where each party pushes the blame to each other. In worst case scenarios, they might even gang up on you.

Having to move out

This is probably the issue that will pose the biggest problem for you. Realistically, you can plan for construction to take place from section to section. You can then move your living space around while the project is ongoing.

But in reality, that will just delay the project. It might also costs you more due to more planning and more ad-hoc problems which arise. And the biggest headache is having to let your family live under stress during the period of construction.

Surely you don’t need a reminder of the pollution on a site under construction?

How about the smell of pesticides, the visible dust in the air, noise levels that don’t allow you to take a nap in the day, safety hazards if you have children, etc.

You might think it worth the misery just so you are able to oversee the job being undertaken. But it is more likely that you will disrupt efficient operations rather than enhancing it.

A professional builder might not even agree to take up a project if the owner intends live on the site during construction. It is just an extra burden not worth shouldering.

You should definitely move out.

That brings another set of activities you have to undertake.

What should you do?

If the option of rebuilding is available to you, you should seriously consider it.

Even when it is a little more expensive compared to remodeling, it can be worthwhile in the long run. You get a higher resale value due to a bigger house and the new energy efficient systems you have installed will give you a recurring saving which you will never get with the old house.

Newer systems and construction will also mean that you won’t have to spend money on repairs and maintenance in the short to medium term. And you could find that construction financing is cheaper than renovation loans.

This dilemma should only arise if you are going for an all out remodeling. If all you are considering to do is revamp the kitchen, refurnish the wash rooms, and upgrade the furniture, knocking down to rebuild a house is way off topic.



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